MINNEAPOLIS - Even though Kevin Durant is only in his third NBA season, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward has already accomplished something no other active player in the league has.
With a 32-point performance in the Thunder’s 109-107 victory at Minnesota on Sunday, Durant extended his streak of games with at least 25 points to 28 games.
Jonny Flynn and Kevin Love each had 19 points for the Timberwolves, who have dropped five in a row.
With a 12-point fourth quarter, Durant was able to eclipse Allen Iverson’s 27-game streak with at least 25 points (Jan. 12-March 9, 2001).
No active NBA player has had more consecutive games with at least 25 points than Durant’s current streak. LeBron James, the NBA’s leading scorer, had a 21- game streak in 2008. Durant’s streak is the longest since Michael Jordan had a 40-game streak of 25 or more points in the 1986-87 season.
Durant, who hasn’t been held below 25 points since Houston limited him to 13 points on Dec. 19, was happier that the Thunder extended its NBA-best winning streak to nine games.
“It’s just me being aggressive,” Durant said. “It’s cool, but I’m glad we got nine in a row. That’s a first for me in my career and I’d rather have that.”
But in a league where high-level consistency is difficult to obtain, Durant’s scoring streak is impressive.
“K.D. is as consistent of a worker as we have on our team,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It’s based on his preparation and his approach to the game. He prepares himself every day to be a better player. It doesn’t surprise me that he has success. He works, he works in shootarounds, he watches film every day and he’s going to get even better.”
Durant had to work hard to reach the 25-point mark against Minnesota. After being limited to six points in the second quarter and two in the third, Durant appeared in danger of not getting it before scoring 10 in the final 2:20.
And the Thunder needed every one of them to remain the only team that has not lost in February. It led by 17 points in the first half, but had to hold off Minnesota in the fourth quarter to secure its fifth consecutive road victory.
Russell Westbrook, who has flirted with triple-doubles on several occasions this season, finally secured one against the Timberwolves, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.
“It was past due,” Durant said. “He could have had five or six by now. I am happy for him. He has come a long way.”